VOL. 174 No. 5189

LONDON, OCTOBER 21st, 1939




A Leading Article on the Past and Future o f the Germans THE BIBLE AND THE PUBLIC SCHOOL

Some British Debts to Italy, by Robert Sencourt A WAR-TIME JOURNAL

By Rosalind Murray Full List of Contents on page 472.


Germany used to be the first Power.

The Turks are playing with dignity and good sense, a major role in Europe a t this moment. The GermanRussian attem pt to tie them up in neutrality and separate them under all circumstances from Britain and France would be, if successful, but the prelude to the unfolding of Soviet designs in the Middle East. The Turks are offered much if they will become the satellite o f the new combination ; but whatever they might acquire today they would all too plainly hold for ju s t as long as it might please Moscow and Berlin. Although they are a small country o f some twelve millions, they are very well placed for maintaining their independence ; and very well placed, if the need should arise, for serving as the base for attacks on the Soviet oil wells on the Caspian and on the Black Sea Danube route, which is the best route by which the Soviet can supply Germany. So important, in consequence, is Turkish neutrality, that the failure to detach the Turks from Britain and France may well decide how far Stalin will judge it prudent to go against the Western Powers. The whole o f the Soviet achievement in transport and mechanization inside Russia would be jeopardized if the oil on which it is based were l o s t ; and while the size o f Russia has been its protection against invading armies, it means that its scanty and vital communications are extremely hard to protect along their great length. The Nazi Surrender in the Baltic

The promises made by the Soviet to Hitler, the full extent o f the understanding now being revealed stage by stage, are governed all the time by the knowledge th a t Stalin can a t any moment draw back. He is still in a stage o f what may be called exploratory hostility towards the West. The Moscow wireless, shamelessly pretending th a t i f in the past Nazi Germany and Communist Russia were unable to see eye to eye and even used rather harsh words about each other, that was all due to the mischief-making o f certain other Powers, is more wholehearted in its new alignment than the more lumbering Nazi publicity machine. The Communists, who live by being quick to Stalin’s changes o f course, and who have never made any great distinction between Fascists and other capitalist imperialists, find it much less embarrassing to rearrange the adjectives than the Nazis do. They are also in happier mood, seizing advantages in the Baltic in which

The Soviet gains are very real. With some fifty Soviet divisions, which could easily be doubled, on their frontiers, the Baltic States which Hitler has abandoned cannot resist the return of Russia. Their own armies, all combined, are some twenty to twenty-five divisions, sufficient to fight by the side of a powerful ally but doomed to defeat if they fought alone. Finland alone is in a somewhat stronger position. But the Soviet is now able to command the ports o f Windau in Latvia and Baltiski in Esthonia, and the approaches to the Gulfs of Riga and Finland. Sweden is brought within range o f Soviet air attack. I f Moscow fortifies the Aaland Islands it will command the third great Gulf of Bothnia. The Soviet land frontier in the east is shortened by no less than two-thirds o f its length. Not so long ago, when the Soviet was very nervous of a German attack, plans were made for achieving a similar shortened frontier on a line south o f Leningrad, by making a belt a hundred miles broad of no m an ’s land. Things have worked out much more auspiciously, so far. Today a Soviet Maginot Line could go almost vertically along the twenty-third meridian. The German Shame

On February 20th, 1938, Herr Hitler was saying, “ With one single country alone we have detested to enter into relationships. That State is Soviet Russia. We see in Bolshevism, more now than before, the incarnation of human destructive forces.” The awful ignominy o f the position, and it is one th a t is being felt by men from the Baltic coast, like Alfred Rosenberg, with particular bitterness, is th a t already the Communists are beginning to ta lk o f the Soviet hold in the Baltic as destined for the protection of Red Germany against a counter-revolution supported by the West. The War may well develop into a war o f such a character, and will be quite clearly a struggle between the forces of Christianity and anti-Christianity. Much o f the strength on the Christian side will come from people with loyalties not to religion, but to liberal and humanitarian ideals, grouped round the name of democracy, things which are historical derivatives o f Christian doctrine, although they have often denied and opposed their progenitor, and fallen into heretical notions o f human self-sufficiency. But a t the parting o f the ways they will stand with us and we with them.